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Peruvian Breed Description

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Breed Organization

American Cavy Breeders Association

British Cavy Council


Other Names

Life Expectancy
4-8 Years

General Description

The Peruvian arrived in Paris around 1886-87, and came to England shortly after. When they were first shown in America under the standards of the National Breeders and Fanciers of America, there were only three recognized breeds: The American, the Abyssinia and Angoras (long hair). In the early 1930's, Angora was changed to Peruvian and the Silkie was cast aside. The Peruvian is noted for it's long, silky hair. The side and rear sweeps should be of equal length for a balanced look. The forelock covers the face. When presented for judging on a show board the coat resembles a circle of hair. It is sometimes difficult to tell front from rear on a Peruvian. Show Peruvians need regular grooming and wrapping of the long coat to keep it from being soiled or tangled. It can be a challenge, but the results are stunning. Pet and breeder Peruvians are trimmed for easier care.

The Peruvian cavy was the first long-haired breed accepted by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. -This breed is notable for it's long, dense, soft "sweeps" of hair which can grow out to several inches in length. -The Peruvian has a "frontal" of hair, which grows forward, covering it's head, giving it an even, circular appearance when an animal in full show coat is groomed out properly.

Breed Standard

The Peruvian is a long-coated cavy with two rosettes on the rump. The placement of these rosettes is important in producing density in the sweep. If the rosettes are high, more hair is pushed into the sweep and it has sufficient density to support its extra length. With low rosettes the sweep can lack density, and as it grows can hang to show a ‘split’ in the middle. Given good placement of rosettes, there should be no problem with the sweep.

The overall appearance, looking down onto the top of the cavy, should be of an oval shape but as near round as possible. With coat of even length coming from a central parting along the spine, the hair should fall forwards to cover the head and backwards over the rear to form the sweep. Along with the shoulders and sides, this should create a continuous ‘curtain’ of hair around the body.

The undercoat of the Peruvian stops at 6 to 7’, so when the top coat reaches 3 to 4” longer than this there starts to be an impression of thinness, as increasing amounts of show board are seen beneath the coat of the cavy. This does not constitute lack of density, which should be felt near to the cavy’s body. When the coat length increases towards 18” it is spread so far out that individual hairs are apparent and an impression of wispiness is given. This is unavoidable even with a very densely coated cavy. Density should also be apparent from the appearance of the coat, with no breaks or thin areas of coat evident. Coat length should be appropriate to the age of the cavy, a guideline being circa 1 inch per month of age. The coat grows in ‘layers’. In young cavies the sweep may appear to be slightly longer than the sides, but an even length all round is sought in intermediate and adult stock. Peruvians may be shown in any color or mixture of colors.


They are a very social breed, so it might be a good idea to give them a cage mate. Just make sure the cage is large enough to prevent any cage dominance and fights.

Guinea pigs can learn complex paths to food, and can accurately remember a learned path for months. Their strongest problem solving strategy is motion. While guinea pigs can jump small obstacles, they are poor climbers, and are not particularly agile. They startle extremely easily, and will either freeze in place for long periods or run or cover with rapid, darting motions when they sense danger. Larger groups of startled guinea pigs will "stampede", running in haphazard directions as a means of confusing predators. When excited, guinea pigs may repeatedly perform little hops in the air (known as "popcorning"). They are also exceedingly good swimmers.


If handled correctly early in their life, guinea pigs become amenable to being picked up and carried, and seldom bite or scratch. They are timid explorers and often hesitate to attempt an escape from their cage even when an opportunity presents itself. Still, they show considerable curiosity when allowed to walk freely, especially in familiar and safe terrain. Guinea pigs that become familiar with their owner will whistle on the owner's approach; they will also learn to whistle in response to the rustling of plastic bags or the opening of refrigerator doors, where their food is most commonly stored.

Guinea pigs should be kept in pairs or, preferably groups, unless there is a specific medical condition that requires isolation. Lone guinea pigs are more likely to suffer from stress and depression. Domesticated guinea pigs come in many breeds, which have been developed since their introduction to Europe and North America. These varieties vary in hair and color composition. The most common varieties found in pet stores are the Peruvian shorthair (also known as the Peruvian), which have a short, smooth coat, and the Abyssinian, whose coat is ruffled with cowlicks, or rosettes. Also popular among breeders are the Peruvian and the Sheltie (or Silkie), both straight longhair breeds, and the Texel, a curly longhair.

Cavy Clubs and Associations dedicated to the showing and breeding of guinea pigs have been established worldwide. The Peruvian Cavy Breeders Association, an adjunct to the Peruvian Rabbit Breeders' Association, is the governing body in the United States and Canada. The British Cavy Council governs cavy clubs in the United Kingdom. Similar organizations exist in Australia (Australian National Cavy Council) and New Zealand (New Zealand Cavy Club). Each club publishes its own Standard of Perfection and determines which breeds are eligible for showing.

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The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

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Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.